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Would you like the "Loser Serves" rule put in place?
Yes 8%  8%  [ 2 ]
No 81%  81%  [ 21 ]
Unsure 12%  12%  [ 3 ]
Total votes : 26
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PostPosted: 06 Oct 2011, 08:07 
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The proposed rule change can lead to a disadvantage for the weaker player in certain match situations. Example:

A vs B, the score is 8:10, A serves. There are 2 possibilities:

1. A loses the point and the game, no difference to the current rule.

2. A wins the point, but now he can not serve the second time. Now B leads 10:9 and serves, advantage for B.

It is clear, that on average the stronger player leads at the end of a game. The proposed rule change makes it even more difficult for the weaker player to reach 10:10. Bad for the weaker player.

(It was a translation of a posting on a German forum: http://forum.tt-news.de/showthread.php? ... ost2142028 )


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PostPosted: 06 Oct 2011, 10:09 
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Smartguy wrote:
Tassie52 wrote:
I would love to post the link, if I had the time to trawl back through all of the posts on the forum. It has been quoted a number of times in different threads. If memory serves me correctly, it was a statistic released by the ITTF (yes, they do occasionally release such things and, yes, I see no reason to think they making them up) after a major comp - possibly the 2010 VW cup.

You know, I had a bad feeling, that no link would come from you. I have never seen such a link in different threads on different forums either.

I'm all in favour of a healthy dose of cynicism, but I admit to resenting the implication that I might deliberately mislead people. So, after a relatively quick trawl through ooakform, here are some comments that others have made:
igorponger wrote:
The recent scientific observations by means of TV-records do indicate that there is a distressing lack of athleticism in modern table tennis as yet. For 100 random points observed in a match, a regular attacking table tennis player would have covered some 250-300 meters in total inside of an imaginary ellipse, close to the table; versus 1200 meters and 1600 meters respectively as the squash and lawn-tennis players would have covered round-about the court.
Futhermore, when an average rally in a table tennis match only lasts 3.8 strokes, it is impossible for a player to display his physical efficiecy to the full.

rodderz wrote:
I'll list some basic stratagies;
9. practice returning serves ,on the whole we just don't do it and when you consider that the average rally is 3.7 or less then getting it back will put you in over the points needed to survive

rodderz wrote:
If you could get atraining partners that will give 1 short serve then one long etc and then random and then you do the same for them, I always tell people that the average ralley is only 3.2 times over the net so If you can win your serves ,or limit the opposition attacking ability, and If you can at least return someones serve you are already half way

Now you will note a couple of things: 1. Neither igorponger or rodderz use the figure I did. Perhaps you might like to contact them and ask the source of their information? 2. I didn't find the post I was looking for with the 3.4 stat.

In the meantime, some things I did find were:
1. Some published research at International Journal of Table Tennis Sciences No. 6 entitled "Survey of the game styles of some of the best Asian players at 12th World University Table Tennis Championships (Sofia, 1998).

In the conclusion and recommendations, the authors (Drianovski and Ocheva) write:
2. The rally is decided with a few strokes (2 to 4), mainly highly-rotatory top spin strokes and strong kill strokes.
5. The outcome of the point is decided within 2 to 3 strokes

Again you will note a couple of things: 1. The paper was based on play in 1998, and there have been a significant number of changes since then. Perhaps the average number of strokes per rally has also changed. 2. The actual average number of strokes per rally is not given. Perhaps you might like to read the article and the figures given and work out the average for yourself?

Significantly, I did find support for igorponger's 3.8 figure, and (until I find otherwise) I'll use this one from now on. Again from the ITTF science section, a research paper from 4 Japanese authors (Takeuchi, Kobayashi, Hiruta and Yuza) at International Journal of Table Tennis Sciences No. 5 and entitled "The effect of the 40mm ball on table tennis rallies by elite players".

The abstract contains the following:
The mean of rally hits per point for 38mm and 40mm balls respectively was 3.1 vs 4.1 in men, 3.6 vs 4.6 in women. The same counts were 3.0 vs 3.3 in junior men 3.6 vs 4.6 in junior women. The combined means for men and junior men, and women and junior women were 3.1 vs 3.8 and 3.7 vs 4.6 for 38mm and 40mm balls respectively.

Which would suggest that the ITTF's change of ball size has given us longer rallies! :clap:

Smartguy wrote:
That the ITTF and especially its leadership do not make things up - give me a break.

You may be a complete cynic regarding the ITT. I choose not to be.

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PostPosted: 06 Oct 2011, 11:05 
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It is very true that the 40mm ball has made rallies longer.
But, this is something that most of us expected (longer rallies) before the change (40mm) was put in place.

But the thread that we are discussing is "Lose serves" tested.
It will be better that we stick to the thread and discuss issues related to "loser serves" or "service change".

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PostPosted: 06 Oct 2011, 11:46 
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Tassie52 wrote:
here are some comments that others have made:
igorponger wrote:
...

rodderz wrote:
...

Comments without any links or concrete references. Bad.

Tassie52 wrote:
Some published research at International Journal of Table Tennis Sciences No. 6 entitled "Survey of the game styles of some of the best Asian players at 12th World University Table Tennis Championships (Sofia, 1998).

They are talking about SOME games of 2 players. No references to concrete matches. Given the date 1998 it might have served the agenda of those promoting 40mm ball. Which itself does nor necessarily mean, that the authors lied, but their claims are impossible to verify.

Tassie52 wrote:
Significantly, I did find support for igorponger's 3.8 figure, and (until I find otherwise) I'll use this one from now on.

So, you are seriously going to consider a number given by that guy being true and spread it around without evidence? To me, it looks like you have an agenda, Tassie52, I can't find any other reasonable explanation.

Tassie52 wrote:
Again from the ITTF science section, a research paper from 4 Japanese authors (Takeuchi, Kobayashi, Hiruta and Yuza) at International Journal of Table Tennis Sciences No. 5 and entitled "The effect of the 40mm ball on table tennis rallies by elite players".

ITTF science section, I see. Remember the ITTF President telling about "shaved blades" and about people asking for introducing authorisation of shoes? Or about apparently non-existing "celluloid ban"?

And this "study" (surprise again!) contains 0 (zero) references to concrete matches.

Now, Tassie52, let me tell you, what I would consider a real study. You guys take finals, semi-finals, and quarter-finals of every World Championship and Olympic games since the introducing the 40mm ball (if we are talking about what is important for spectators), then you count strokes for every single point and then calculate the average for every single match. OK, you can also take 1/8 finals. And you publish not just the average, but everything, I mean tables including every single point.

Then I would verify the whole thing by randomly choosing games and comparing your numbers with what I would count myself using published videos of the studied games. So, the videos should be published, too.

Until we can see such a study, I don't believe a word about numbers.

The only numbers I believe are the ones I calculated myself for 1 single match Wang Hao - Ma Long, and it was 4.91. My impression from watching top Chinese is, that their games would produce the results close to that 4.91.


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PostPosted: 06 Oct 2011, 15:41 
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I tend to agree with wlhk, let's keep this thread about the loser serves proposal. If you guys wish to have a discussion about the average shots played in a rally, that's fine, but please start it in another thread...and keep the debate healthy!

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PostPosted: 06 Oct 2011, 16:20 
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RebornTTEvnglist wrote:
I tend to agree with wlhk, let's keep this thread about the loser serves proposal. If you guys wish to have a discussion about the average shots played in a rally, that's fine, but please start it in another thread...and keep the debate healthy!

Thanks for the timely reminder about staying on topic. :)

But this all began with "loser serves" and I think still has relevance. Regardless of what some may choose to believe :lol: , the stats are in that TT is currently a game based around a very limited number of strokes per rally - averaging somewhere between 3 and 4 for men, and a little higher for women. The shortness of the rally points to the importance of the service: if you get it wrong, you are immediately punished; if you get it right, 3rd ball attack is set up and point finished. (Obviously there's a lot more to it than that, with all sorts of variations on a theme. But bottom line is that if elite men's rallies average 3.8 strokes then this is a sprint event not a marathon.)

My question is, "Does the current game place a value on the service which is in keeping with what we want from TT?" In the last twelve months I have read lots and lots of threads - mainly but certainly not exclusively from long pips players - bemoaning the dominance of two winged looping, 3rd ball attack. Short rallies are the province of the attacker, not the defender. Joo Se Hyuk and company want the marathon rather than the sprint (irrespective of claims that all players want to end each rally as quickly as possible).

It seems to me that trialling the "loser serves" system is one way of testing the degree of dominance of the serve, and testing the effects of placing the emphasis on the ability to return serve. This is not about
mynamenotbob wrote:
Why should a player be penalized for being ahead?
as it applies every bit as much to someone serving while behind on the score card:
Smartguy wrote:
It is clear, that on average the stronger player leads at the end of a game. The proposed rule change makes it even more difficult for the weaker player to reach 10:10.


Reading the comments on the survey after the trial, I doubt that the change is particularly helpful, particularly when there are comments such as "There is no big difference" and "In this tournament results were not influenced from this new system".

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PostPosted: 07 Oct 2011, 05:59 
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Now that I've thought about this a little more, I like the idea even less. To me, the biggest drawback is that you are basically killing the chance of big comebacks in a game.

For example, recently I was playing a player over 300 points higher than me at a tournament. In the fifth game I got down 9-5, but had the serve. I was able to run off the next 6 points, 4 of which on my serve, to cap a huge comeback and huge win for myself. Had the "loser serves" rule been in effect, there's no way I could have run off that many points on his serve.

This rule's primary impact, in my opinion, would be to place a premium on getting an early lead in a match. If you can get a 3-4 point lead, you make it extremely difficult for your opponent to come back, especially if you have a halfway decent serve/attack combo, because the most that your opponent can get at any one time is a single point on theirs. In my situation above, I knew I had 4 serves coming up if I could stretch the game, so the comeback possibility was still alive.

Comebacks are a thrilling part of the game that we shouldn't eliminate or reduce, unless there's a compelling reason. And, at this point, I see no compelling reason.

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PostPosted: 07 Oct 2011, 06:03 
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Just thought of one more thing. How about this, to add another wrinkle to this debate. What about the idea of "winner serves". So, if you win the point, you get the serve. It would really place a premium not only on serving effectively, but especially in developing your serve return so that you could acquire the advantage of the serve. It sure would make for some exciting swings in momentum. A player could run off 4 or 5 points on great serve/attack combinations, and then the other person could get a break and run off a number of points on their own. I wouldn't be in favor of a permanent rules change to this option either, but personally would find it more compelling than "loser serves".

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PostPosted: 07 Oct 2011, 07:49 
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dwruck wrote:
What about the idea of "winner serves". So, if you win the point, you get the serve. It would really place a premium not only on serving effectively, but especially in developing your serve return so that you could acquire the advantage of the serve.

Oh, please no! :o While I understand what you are saying about "momentum swings", I really hate the idea of putting even more emphasis on the serve. (And this is from someone whose serve is a big part of my game - I have far more variation and disguise than the people I usually play against.)

While I recognise that it is a myth, I still look for a "level playing field" as much as possible. If it's "winner serves" then 11-0 games are not going to be as rare as they are now. "Winner serves" simply gives too much advantage to the server.

How about we leave the current rule alone?

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PostPosted: 07 Oct 2011, 08:30 
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Tassie52 wrote:
While I recognise that it is a myth, I still look for a "level playing field" as much as possible.

In that case how about this for a novel idea. Each game starts at 0:0 and the player who starts serving first in one game doesn't serve first in the next :D
Yes, lets leave it alone or maybe add a vote to this thread so the silent majority here can have their say too.


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PostPosted: 07 Oct 2011, 09:38 
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Debater wrote:
Tassie52 wrote:
While I recognise that it is a myth, I still look for a "level playing field" as much as possible.

In that case how about this for a novel idea. Each game starts at 0:0 and the player who starts serving first in one game doesn't serve first in the next :D
Yes, lets leave it alone or maybe add a vote to this thread so the silent majority here can have their say too.


+1.

Those who are lazy/unprepared always love to argue for a "level playing field" in every which way possible... Also they are never satisfied with whichever change they brought upon to the masses. NEVER.

I say they should leave the game alone by making themselves leave the game forever, so we can enjoy it at last. :lol:


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PostPosted: 07 Oct 2011, 10:47 
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roundrobin wrote:
Debater wrote:
Tassie52 wrote:
While I recognise that it is a myth, I still look for a "level playing field" as much as possible.

In that case how about this for a novel idea. Each game starts at 0:0 and the player who starts serving first in one game doesn't serve first in the next :D
Yes, lets leave it alone or maybe add a vote to this thread so the silent majority here can have their say too.


+1.

Those who are lazy/unprepared always love to argue for a "level playing field" in every which way possible... Also they are never satisfied with whichever change they brought upon to the masses. NEVER.

I say they should leave the game alone by making themselves leave the game forever, so we can enjoy it at last. :lol:

yeeehaaaa, yes lets no have "everyone wins a prize", and just leave the current serving alone, and learn to fight for points

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PostPosted: 07 Oct 2011, 10:57 
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dwruck wrote:
This rule's primary impact, in my opinion, would be to place a premium on getting an early lead in a match. If you can get a 3-4 point lead, you make it extremely difficult for your opponent to come back, especially if you have a halfway decent serve/attack combo, because the most that your opponent can get at any one time is a single point on theirs.

Comebacks are a thrilling part of the game that we shouldn't eliminate or reduce, unless there's a compelling reason. And, at this point, I see no compelling reason.

Totally agree. With the loser serves system, it is very important to have a good start.

"I believe the loser serves system will give the weaker player a better chance to stay close or stay in the game. "
This is what the ITTX president wants, to give the rest of the world a better chance of upsetting the Chinese dominance.

But once a lead is built-up near the end of the game, the one leading will be in a very good position to win.

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PostPosted: 07 Oct 2011, 12:06 
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PostPosted: 07 Oct 2011, 12:35 
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RebornTTEvnglist wrote:
Poll added! Vote now! :up:

Thanks for that Reb. I've voted and the score at present is No=3 out of a total of 3 votes. Which must mean that I've voted "No" as well (just to confuse all those who think that I could never vote against anything remotely ITTF :lol: ).

This morning was my weekly practice session. I was telling my training partner about this discussion and I suggested we give it a try. All in all, the biggest problem for me was the lack of "flow" - with the serve constantly changing. Because we know one another's serves so well and we are evenly matched, there was no clear domination by either one, just constant back and forth of the serve. My guess is that this would lose its "weirdness" after a while, much as the 2 serve rule stopped being weird as well. But... not a fan.

Interestingly, my partner wanted to try something else and suggested the squash rule - you gain the serve when you win a rally, but you only score a point if you are serving. In some respects that was a lot more fun. It certainly lengthened each game considerably as winning a rally didn't necessarily mean a change in the score line. But again... I wouldn't argue in its favour.

What I do appreciate is that at least I've had a chance to try the suggested change before getting to vote.

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